Youth Panel

The purpose of CIMSPA’s Youth Panel is to allow young adults (defined as those between the ages of 16-25) to act as advisers to the Board of Trustees by advocating the youth perspective to influence policy, practice and the strategic direction of CIMSPA.

The Youth Panel undertakes work to drive the involvement of the youth perspective through active engagement and consultation to influence and advise on the scope and quality of the services CIMSPA delivers and its strategy. This allows panel members to be proactively involved in the future of their workforce.

The panel is comprised of 8-14 members with different education and employment backgrounds and with a wide range of knowledge and experiences of sport and physical activity.

Youth Panel’s role

  • Act as advocates of CIMSPA and the youth perspective.
  • Act as representatives of local and regional areas.
  • Engage with opportunities to advocate the youth perspective through networking, involvement in relevant projects and forums and attendance at appropriate events on behalf of CIMSPA.
  • Be open to obtaining and sharing the feedback and perspectives of other young adults, not limited to but with a focus on the sport and physical activity sector.
  • Present ideas and perspectives at meetings.
  • Challenge mindsets and perspectives of CIMSPA executive and the board of trustees.
  • Work as a collective board.
  • Act as champions of the youth perspective, considering the implications of CIMSPA’s services and operations for the young adults.
  • Support CIMSPA’s vision and mission.
  • Act as youth advisors, utilising their previous and current experiences.
  • Plan, review and implement decisions relating to the youth panels strategic objectives.

Youth Panel Chair

Abhishek Sudhakar

Abhishek is a Sports Project Officer at Sport Structures, working across the Consultancy and Digital & IT departments. He is responsible for creating inclusive online learning modules for coach education and delivering consultancy projects for multiple NGBs, Sports Councils and other sport organisations in the UK.

Abhishek has been a national level table tennis player for over 18 years, playing at the highest level in India. After moving to the UK, he continues to play the County Championships for Leicestershire.

Abhishek is keen to use his passion and lived experiences with ED&I to work towards a more inclusive sport sector for young people. He strongly advocates for the need to listen to the experiences and views of young people in informing strategy that caters to a better future for sport.

Youth Panel Members


Headshot of Fran Atkinson

Fran Atkinson

Fran is the Officiating Assistant at England Netball, where she supports A Award umpires and above at national competitions, the Netball Super League and international events. She runs the Officiating social media channels to help champion all match officials in England from grass roots level to international. She is also a part-time student at Loughborough University London studying MA Leadership in Sport.

Outside of work, she is the Young Volunteer Representative on the England Netball London and South East Regional Management Board where she helps create a voice for young people who participate in the sport throughout the region.

Additionally, Fran is a member of the England Netball National Young Volunteer Group where she works with the organisation to help better represent young people nationally.

Fran joined the CIMSPA panel in 2023 with the hopes to gain insight from like-minded individuals from different backgrounds with the same passion for representing young people in sport.

Jade Featherstone

Jade is a regional coordinator at England Netball. She is also a keen netball volunteer which is where many of her experiences have come from such as University Netball Officer, President of Netball and Netball coach at Northumbria University. She is also involved with North East Performance Netball where she volunteers in as many ways as possible including running events, social media and coaching.  

Jade has a MSc in International Sport Management from Northumbria University where she also previously graduated with a 2:1 in her Undergraduate Sport Management degree.  

Jade’s aim is to work hard to develop opportunities for young people and give back to the industry which helped her to progress. Not only this but she is working hard to advance her own knowledge through her time at CIMSPA but also with her new role on the BUCS Netball SAG as Event Manager two roles which she believes are going to continue to build her career knowledge.

Jessica Laidler

Jess is currently working for England Rugby as a Growth Activator in the North East, as part of the Impact work aligned to the Rugby World Cup in 2025. She has also had roles as a Netball Development Officer for England Netball as well as a Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Coach and Judge.

Her experience includes work across various sporting landscapes e.g Schools with SGOs/SSPs, NGBs, Sheffield City Council Partnerships, Sport & Health Team, Clubs at a recreational level up to regional/national standard. She intends to speak up for the often overlooked North-East of England and be an influencing voice that is passionate about raising awareness of barriers to participation and inspiring the next generation to feel confident to pursue a career in sport.

Headshot of Kate Mills

Kate Mills

Kate is a Project Coordinator at Trivandi, a major venue and event consultancy. She has supported various projects including 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships’ Flag Programme, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Rugby League World Cup 2021 Operational Readiness, and Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development’s Community and Elite Sports Facilities Masterplan. Kate volunteers at parkrun and other sporting events in her free time.

Kate has a BSc (Hons) Sports Management and MSc Sport Management, Politics and International Development from Loughborough University. Whilst at Loughborough, she gained valuable experiences in various volunteer roles, including the World Gymnastics Championships 2022 as a Workforce Assistant and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a Kitting Out Assistant. Kate was also part of the performance swimming team, as a multiple national medallist, qualifying for Olympic, World and Commonwealth Trials.

Through the Youth Panel, Kate aims to spread awareness of the power of sport and physical activity and give back to the sector by helping to implement change. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and work with CIMSPA’s Executive and Board of Trustees.

Gareth Picken

Gareth is a 23-year-old Para athlete from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Having been born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, sport has always played a major part within his life. Initially as a form of physiotherapy, he developed a love for competing in a variety of sports and participating at the best of his ability. During his teenage year, Gareth focused on para-swimming, reaching an international level of competition. In more recent years, during and post studying a degree in Sport Development at Cardiff Metropolitan University, he has been involved in the advancement of sport. He chairs the Disability Sport Wales National Youth Board, has worked for Welsh Rowing, and currently works for Swim England. Outside of the office, Gareth enjoys recreationally swimming and competing as a para-thrower and wheelchair racer.  

Gareth joined the CIMSPA at its creation in 2018 and has really enjoyed being able to share his own experiences whilst also learning from others with different experiences and opinions.

Georgia Townsend

Georgia works for the Active Partnership, Active Kent and Medway as a Sports Coordinator. Georgia graduated from the University of Brighton with a BSc Hons in Sports Business Management. Georgia also plays and coaches football. She now has experience being a coach, student, graduate and a working professional within the sports sector. Georgia will be able to share different perspectives and hopes to guide the future direction of the sports industry through her role on the Youth Panel.

Elena Portas - Appointed CIMSPA Board Trustee and Youth Panel Advisor

Elena is a Strategy Consultant and Health Expert working for a global management consultancy in the sport and physical activity sector. She leads the organisations’ Health Practice which supports clients to better understand and harness the benefits of physical activity on population health.

She is passionate about supporting the next generation of young people to have better access to sport and physical activity, and to further their education and careers in the industry.

Youth Panel Terms of Reference


Are you interested in joining the CIMSPA Youth Panel?

We’re not currently recruiting but would love to take your details to allow us to contact you about future opportunities with the Youth Panel. Please complete the below form to register your expression of interest.

Youth Panel - expression of interest